Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Character You Likely Didn't Know Heroes' Greg Grunberg Played In 2009's Star Trek

Many beloved directors have signature "lucky charms" that always appear in their movies. For Shane Black, 'tis always the season to tell his stories at Christmas if he has the chance. Sam Raimi made sure to leave room for "Evil Dead" collaborator Bruce Campbell in the original "Spider-Man" trilogy (and, rumor has it, in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness"), and it's rare for Quentin Tarantino to go an entire film without showing off someone's feet. Such are the trademark elements that some filmmakers just can't be without. In the case of "Lost" creator and sci-fi franchise reviver J.J. Abrams, it's having "Heroes" star Greg Grunberg in attendance.

Initially collaborating with Abrams on the Jennifer Garner-led spy series "Alias" between 2001 and 2006, Grunberg made a name for himself in the sci-fi drama that saw a band of strangers gain special powers in "Heroes." From there, he went on to work with Abrams again, appearing in "Mission: Impossible 3" and fighting for the Resistance in the "Star Wars" sequel trilogy. But the director also made space for Grunberg in the refreshing chapter of the "Star Trek" franchise that Abrams warped into a new era, even though the actor was never actually seen on camera.

Grunberg phoned it in as the stepdad to Captain Kirk

In a sequence that iconically features a classic Beastie Boys hit within the Kelvin timeline, J.J. Abrams' 2009 take on "Star Trek" introduces us to a young tearaway who would go on to become the Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise — James Kirk. It also showed us what kind of response Kirk has to authority applied by Greg Grunberg, credited only as "Stepdad" (via IMDb), who calls Kirk in the middle of vehicular theft on Earth.

The film sees Kirk head off down the road in his stepdad's car, only for him to get a call on a futuristic Nokia (suggesting they still might make a comeback). Being the understandably angry parent, Grunberg's character warns young James that he's driving an "antique" — right before the whippersnapper hangs up, switches on "Sabotage" at full volume, and drives the car off a cliff shortly afterward. Kids, right? As brief as the moment is, any "Heroes" fan would be able to spot the unmistakable sound of Grunberg over the phone, marking another small but significant appearance for the actor in the pantheon of Abrams pictures.